Money Wellness
Illustrated images people struggling with mental health. Mental health and money
category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon14 May 2024

Mental Health Awareness Week – 13-19 May

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week – a week created to highlight mental health and get people talking about conditions such as anxiety and stress, as well as more serious illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

In a survey conducted this year, more than 1 in 7 adults said their mental health is currently either bad or the worst it has been. And one in five children and young people had a probable mental disorder in 2023.

It’s suggested that factors such as increased social media use, the after-effects of the pandemic, increased isolation and loneliness, lack of access to care, and financial worries brought on by the cost-of-living crisis have all played a role in people’s mental health deteriorating.

And money and mental health are certainly linked:

  • 1.5 million people in England have mental health and debt problems
  • 46% of people in problem debt have a mental health problem
  • 18% of people with mental health are in problem debt, compared to 5% of people without a mental health problem

In a survey we carried out last year, 80% of the people we helped with problem debt said their finances had been negatively affected by a mental health issue. And 78% said most of their stress was caused by money worries.

By understanding how money and mental health influence each other, you can start to take steps towards a healthier, happier financial future.

The ways mental health affects money management

There are several ways your mental health can influence your financial situation:

- When you're feeling low or depressed, you may lack the motivation to manage your finances properly. It might not feel worth the effort to budget or save

- Spending money can give you a brief high, so you might be tempted to overspend to make yourself feel better in the short term

- If you experience mania or hypomania, you might make impulsive financial decisions without fully considering the consequences

- Mental health struggles can affect your ability to work or study, which could reduce your income

- You might find yourself avoiding money-related tasks, like opening bills or checking your bank account, because they trigger anxiety

The Impact of debt on mental health

Just as mental health can affect your finances, money worries can also impact your mental wellbeing:

- Certain money-related situations, like opening envelopes or attending a benefits assessment, can trigger feelings of anxiety and panic

- Constantly worrying about money can lead to sleep problems and insomnia

- If you can't afford essentials like housing, food, heating, or medication, it can be incredibly stressful and take a toll on your mental health

- Money struggles can leave you feeling lonely or isolated if you can't afford to socialise or do the things you enjoy. This can put a strain on your relationships.

Are money worries affecting your mental health?

If you're finding that financial concerns are impacting your mental wellbeing, the first step is to talk about it. Confiding in someone you trust, like a friend or family member, can help you feel less alone. If you’d prefer more confidential support, your doctor could also help.  

Or you might prefer to get free, professional debt advice – we can help with this.

Remember, you don't have to face money worries alone. Reaching out for help is a brave step towards better financial and mental wellbeing.

Charities and organisation that can help with mental health

For many people getting help with their finances automatically improves their mental health, but this isn’t the case for everyone. For those in crisis who need more specialist support, we work with partner organisations to make sure they access the help they need. We made nearly 5,000 referrals to these partners last year alone.

Here are some charities and organisations that provide more specialist support:

Samaritans

ReThink

SHOUT

Mind

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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